The Dying Game by Asa Avdic

The Dying Game

Asa Avdic

Combining suspense, unexpected twists, psychological gamesmanship, and a sinister dystopian future, The Dying Game conjures a world in which one woman is forced to ask, "Can I save my life by staging my death?".

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A masterly locked-room mystery set in a near-future Orwellian state
The year is 2037. The Soviet Union never fell, and much of Europe has been consolidated under the totalitarian Union of Friendship. On the tiny island of Isola, seven people have been selected to compete in a forty-eight-hour test for a top-secret intelligence position. One of them is Anna Francis, a workaholic bureaucrat with a nine-year-old daughter she rarely sees and a secret that haunts her. Her assignment: to stage her own death and then to observe, from her hiding place inside the walls of the house, how the six other candidates react to the news that a murderer is among them. Who will take control? Who will crack under pressure? But then a storm rolls in, the power goes out, and the real game begins. . . .
Combining suspense, unexpected twists, psychological gamesmanship, and a sinister dystopian future, The Dying Game conjures a world in which one woman is forced to ask, “Can I save my life by staging my death?”

Advance Galley Reviews

The Dying Game was an excellent read, hard to put down! Definitely a top-notch debut for Asa Avdic. Anna Francis is a complicated protagonist who's not always sympathetic, but always interesting. She's a PTSD survivor and remote single mother in a dystopian, totalitarian society in 2017 Sweden. Lots of twists and turns and characters with unclear allegiances and motives. A group of seven comes to an isolated island for an extended job interview for a top level intelligence position. Anna has been asked to fake her own death and spent the rest of the experience observing the others from a secret hiding place, to report on how they handle the tension. Things start to go wrong and people start disappearing, and Anna has no way to reach out for help. The tension and paranoia is off the charts. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. I would have liked a little more explanation at the end. But thoroughly enjoyable throughout. I look forward to Asa Avdic's next book. Nancy Masterson-Newkirk, Montclair, NJ

I thoroughly enjoyed plowing through this book! It was full of intrigue and brilliance - I could not put it down - I almost gave it 5 stars but then the ending threw me for a loop - but non the less this brilliantly composed creation proposes a hefty sum to our protagonist- enough to set up her and her daughter for life. Just one thing - she must play dead for one weekend - and report from secret hiding spots - how the others react- what could go wrong?

This was a fast read that I wanted to find out what happened at the end. The narrative and world building was at times confusing to me; but, the author made me care about what happened to Anna and why. I would give this book a 3 out of 5.

A political suspense set in a dystopic setting involving burned out civil aid Anna who is sent to an isolated island to observe potential candidates for a top ranking position. Ann and the other participants are pawns in a twisted game where no one can be trusted or actions believed. Henry, is known to Anna and complicates the role she plays as an observer. As people disappear, Anna loses her tenuous hold on stability and tragedy is unavoidable.The cruel machinations of the man who set everything in play are carried out like a game. Quick read but the characters were a little flat and the ending was unfulfilling. Definitely a page turner to get to the ending.

Observing others takes patience and can yield insights, good or bad, into a person. Being observed, however, can foster feelings of paranoia. In Asa Avdic's The Dying Game the stakes are high in a test centered upon observing.  In Sweden in 2037, a test is being conducted to find the best candidate for a sensitive position within the intelligence community. Anna Francis finds herself not a candidate but a hidden observer of the candidates, whose job it is to observe how they react to her "murder" and report back after 48 hours. When one of the candidates happens to be a former coworker, Henry Falls, whom Anna can't help but think about, her mind starts to go into overdrive to figure out what game might be playing out for them all. As candidates start disappearing from the secluded clifftop house where the test is being conducted, Anna is worried that someone is actually killing people, driving her into action that goes against her orders and changing the game in an unforeseeable way. While the ultimate outcome of this not overly outlandish premise was utterly predictable, I found that the way in which it was written was relatively compelling and certainly made for an incredibly quick read. There was little background to develop how the world got to the moderately dystopian stage it did or other details to invoke deeper investment in the story, which was confusing and would have helped to strengthen the narrative. The mental games played on Anna were fascinating, if disturbing, and demonstrate the drastic means taken in political and governmental circles to secure a desired end, no matter what the cost might be. Overall, I'd give it a 3 out of 5 stars.

Overall, I enjoyed this. Lots of twists and turns that make you want to keep reading, even if some of them are predictable. My main complaint would be: I'm not sure why this had to be set in a dystopian future. It never really factors into the plot and is also never fully explained. It just felt like, "Dystopian futures are all the rage! Let's jump on the trend!"


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